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Relevant child development literature. As part of parent education To build a working alliance Demonstrates knowledge base Child-focused As rationale for positions in dispute resolution. Categories of Parent Education.

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relevant child development literature
Relevant child development literature
  • As part of parent education
  • To build a working alliance
    • Demonstrates knowledge base
    • Child-focused
  • As rationale for positions in dispute resolution
categories of parent education
Categories of Parent Education
  • Normative parent-child relationships and distortions associated with parent conflict
  • Child development research
    • Attachment formation, maintaining attachment relationships after separation
    • Age related cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional capacities and needs
    • Age related normative behaviors
example using child development
Example: Using Child Development
  • Dispute about what type of summer camp for 7 year old boy:
    • Father promotes 2 week sleepover camp, says it will “toughen” him up and he needs that
    • Mother disagrees, says boy has rarely slept apart from parents, promotes 2 week day camp with 1 overnight each week
  • PC educates about lengthy separations, checks on child’s reactions to prior separations from parents, whether child is going with a friend, interviews child for his ideas/feelings about both options, provides feedback to parents, mediates agreement
high conflict impact on children
High Conflict Impact on Children
  • Separation Difficulties, loyalty conflicts
  • Parentification - attachment insecurity
  • Surreal sense of “not existing”
      • In the Name of the Child – Johnston & Roseby
  • Impaired reality testing
    • Inaccurate perceptions, evaluative processes
  • Breeding ground for personality pathology
family dynamics in separation and divorce impact of parental conflict on children
FAMILY DYNAMICS IN SEPARATION AND DIVORCE IMPACT OF PARENTAL CONFLICT ON CHILDREN

Johnston and Roseby ’97

  • Disruptions of normal development due to exposure to contradictory realities of right and wrong
  • Belief in self and competence undermined
  • Distortions of information to maintain own view point
family dynamics in separation and divorce impact of parental conflict on children1
FAMILY DYNAMICS IN SEPARATION AND DIVORCE IMPACT OF PARENTAL CONFLICT ON CHILDREN

Johnston & Campbell ’88

  • 4 principle methods children use to cope:
  • MANEUVERING
  • masters at manipulating their parents to get their needs met
  • slowly learn to take care of themselves first and always
  • fail to learn empathy or compassion
  • become skilled at manipulating others for their own gain
family dynamics in separation and divorce impact of parental conflict on children2
FAMILY DYNAMICS IN SEPARATION AND DIVORCE IMPACT OF PARENTAL CONFLICT ON CHILDREN

2.EQUILIBRATING

  • diplomats par excellence—mediators
  • capable of withstanding high degree of conflict
  • try desperately to keep everything under control.
  • appear composed, well organized and competent, while underneath perpetually anxious
  • learn to hide their feelings and to seek safe ways to stay out of parental disputes
family dynamics in separation and divorce impact of parental conflict on children3
FAMILY DYNAMICS IN SEPARATION AND DIVORCE IMPACT OF PARENTAL CONFLICT ON CHILDREN

3. MERGING

  • enmeshed in the contest between their parents
  • lose sense of self: unable to identify own thoughts and opinions
  • arrested at the developmental level of 6 – 8 year old
  • continue to side with the parent they are with more of the time--imitate
  • split their identities in half and have little individual sense of themselves
family dynamics in separation and divorce impact of parental conflict on children4
FAMILY DYNAMICS IN SEPARATION AND DIVORCE IMPACT OF PARENTAL CONFLICT ON CHILDREN
  • DIFFUSING
  • the most dysfunctional and disorganized
  • respond to parents conflict same way they respond to other forms of stress
  • not strong enough to cope with high conflict
  • unable to develop adequate coping mechanisms; few resources
  • shatter emotionally—fall apart
why talk to children and adolescents in the pc process
Why Talk to Children and Adolescents in the PC Process?
  • Child is brought into focus for parents
  • Child’s voice provides PC with more integrated and reliable view of family
  • Children are good observers of family life
  • Child feels acknowledged and heard
  • PC obtains input relevant to parental disputes and appropriate PC decisions
why talk to children and adolescents in the pc process cont
Why Talk to Children and Adolescents in the PC Process? (cont.)
  • PC provides relevant feedback to parents re: what is important to child
  • Talking to child enhances PC credibility with parents and children
  • Listening to children is not = to letting children make decisions
  • PC has long-term relationship with family

(Gallop et al, 2000; Kelly, 2002, 2008; Sanchez & Kibler-Sanchez, 2004)

including children in pc process advantages for pc and children
Including Children in PC Process: Advantages for PC and Children
  • Understand the child’s experience in the high conflict family
  • Explore how things are working for child:
    • Parenting plan and transitions
    • Parenting of each parent (emotional support, discipline, communication about and with other parent)
    • Parent-child and sibling relationships
    • School, homework, friends
including children in pc process advantages for pc and children cont
Including Children in PC Process: Advantages for PC and Children(cont.)
  • Explore children’s specific desires & ideas about parent disputes re: summer plans, activities, sports, parental attendance at events, therapy, etc.
  • Listening to children paradoxically takes them out of the middle of parent disputes
  • PC can support child’s desire not to be used to express parental anger/disputes
children s views on being included in divorce processes research
Children’s Views on Being Included in Divorce Processes: Research
  • Positive evaluations of the opportunity to be heard (in all forums studied)
    • Feel acknowledged re: centrality of issues to their lives
    • Think it leads to better decisions & outcomes
    • Most feel comfortable in interview situation rather than courtroom

(Cashmore & Parkinson, 2008; Gallop et al 2000; IICRD evaluation, 2008; Kelly, 2002; Smart & Neale, 2000)

children s views on being included in divorce processes research cont
Children’s Views on Being Included in Divorce Processes: Research(cont.)
  • In contested cases with history of violence, abuse, and/or high conflict, children prefer to talk directly with a judge, compared to uncontested cases
  • They want to ensure that their views are heard correctly – tend not to trust parents’ lawyers, evaluators, court mediators

(Cashmore & Parkinson, 2008; Parkinson, et al, 2007)

research on interviewing children parents views
Research on Interviewing Children:Parents’ Views
  • Majority of parents felt that children should be heard
  • Reasons: procedural justice, fairness, “it’s their life”, better decisions and outcomes
  • More parents than children worried about pressure & manipulation of views of child
  • Uncertain about appropriate age (unlike children who said those over age of 7 should be listened to)

(Cashmore & Parkinson, 2008)

most children and adolescents are clear
Most Children and Adolescents are Clear…
  • They want to be involved and heard in matters that affect them
  • They understand the difference between providing input and making decisions
  • They prefer voluntary input and want the right not to be heard
  • Many wish they could talk with family members rather than professionals

(Cashmore & Parkinson, 2008; Gollop, et al, 2000; Kelly, 2002; Kelly, 2007; Parkinson & Cashmore, 2008; Smith et al, 2003; Smart, 2002; Taylor, 2006)

when might the pc choose not to include children cont
When Might the PC Choose Not to Include Children(cont.)
  • Parents are able to reach agreement on disputes with the PC’s assistance
  • Dispute not directly relevant to child
  • Child is too young to provide reliable information
  • Child has strong anxiety or opposition to participating in process
  • Child traumatized by violence, abuse, mental illness, afraid of talking about their views

(Kelly, 2002; Saposnek, 2004; Warshak, 2003)

potential risks for pc in listening to children
Potential Risks for PC in Listening to Children
  • Child vulnerable to parent pressure and manipulation
  • Child fears punitive response by parent
  • Child worried about parental well-being
  • Unstable opinions and wishes
  • Unhealthy identification with a parent
  • What child says he/she wants may not be in child’s best interest

(Saposnek, 2004; Warshak, 2003)

potential problems of pcs in talking to children
Potential Problems of PCsin Talking to Children
  • PC lacks understanding of children’s cognitive & developmental abilities and psychological needs
  • Poor interview techniques yield poor information
    • PC uses confirmatory strategies to get answers that PC wants or thinks are correct
    • PC language and questions not age appropriate
    • PC approach is too therapeutic, vague, lacking structure, unfocused
  • Dismissal of child’s views by PC

(Kelly, 2002)